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Shelf Life - Saiyuki Reload Blast




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SonicFanA



Joined: 12 Jul 2017
Posts: 111
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:20 pm Reply with quote
Thank you for reviewing Saiyuki Reload Blast. Saiyuki is my #1 anime I just love it so much. I keep wishing Reload and Gunlock would get license rescued and that Burial would get released as well so i can own all of it on dvd. I only have the first series, the movie and a few singles of Reload and Gunlock. I also wish all of it was streamed online legally so others can see how good it is.

Also I think Saiyuki Reload Blast manga only has like four or five volumes out and the author might have health issues so the chapters come out slow. I do agree a reboot would have been better. The original anime toned down a lot of the violence that was present in the manga. I think Gaiden is an example of how bloody it can be.
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 619
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:29 pm Reply with quote
Was curious about Gunparade March since i heard it was coming to bluray; the 2004 Shelf Life blip just has Bamboo complaining about high schooler protagonists and the "unrealistic" plot. Guess i'll wait for a proper review before making a decision on it.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 2159
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:43 pm Reply with quote
Merxamers wrote:
Was curious about Gunparade March since i heard it was coming to bluray; the 2004 Shelf Life blip just has Bamboo complaining about high schooler protagonists and the "unrealistic" plot. Guess i'll wait for a proper review before making a decision on it.


I mean, that sounds like usual mecha show from early 2000, I don't think a new review would change that.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 261
Location: USA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Huh, a re-release of Gunparade March. I remember it being a decent show, and we never got any of the sequel shows over here in the US. I was always curious about how Gunparade Orchestra turned out.

It's a fairly stock early 2k Mecha show, but instead of children being used for war because of... whatever stupid excuse, here it is because that is what is left. There are adults fighting too, just the kids are 'new recruits'. I always thought it was rather poignant. I think I need to pick this one up.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 7678
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:43 pm Reply with quote
SonicFanA wrote:
I keep wishing ... that Burial would get released as well so i can own all of it on dvd.

When Section 23 put out Gaiden, I was hopeful they might do Burial too while the actors were still available (even though that dub sounded like they all phoned it in), but no such luck, and that window is now closed for good. Still, I'd buy it without a dub, if they'd even give us that.

I enjoyed Blast well enough, especially the new Sanzo priest, but unfortunately it too felt like nobody was all that excited about doing it (the acting was good, just the script and animation and direction were lackluster), whereas the previous installments seemed like the production crew were having fun. I'll probably still buy it eventually, just to complete my collection. Smile

What was up with the "Sun Wukong" in the review? That may be the original Chinese name in Journey to the West, but the manga and anime have never called the Saiyuki character anything other than "Son Goku."
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myochan



Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Posts: 53
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:45 pm Reply with quote
Dude, I just saw this great movie called "Journey to the West:Demons Strike" with Kris Wu, Lin Gengzin and Yao Chen. It's awesome and totally gave me Saiyuki feels. I have the first 2 box sets and the movie, plus the first few volumes of the manga. It's all good stuff. Can't believe there's suddenly a new box to scoop up Very Happy
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LightningCount



Joined: 04 Mar 2018
Posts: 37
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:18 pm Reply with quote
Merxamers wrote:
Was curious about Gunparade March since i heard it was coming to bluray; the 2004 Shelf Life blip just has Bamboo complaining about high schooler protagonists and the "unrealistic" plot. Guess i'll wait for a proper review before making a decision on it.


I got around to seeing most of it on DVD about eight years ago. From the eight episodes I saw, it's rather charming but underwhelming on the whole. It's essentially a high school slice-of-life show with romantic overtones that happens to have mecha and an alternate-history human-alien war on the perimeter of its plot. Sometimes these two goals mesh, and there are some very poignant moments and good ideas in the mix, but more often than not, it doesn't capitalize as much on the mecha and war stuff as it does on the slice-of-life elements. Its animation has flashes of above-average quality, but generally it takes the path of least resistance. The design work tiptoes the line between archetypal and eye-catching, with a decent sense of reflecting setting and function, and I think it manages to rise above feeling too generic in that respect. I actually think the overall design work is one of its strengths.

The opening and ending songs are great, and the soundtrack by Kenji Kawai (of Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell, and Gundam 00 fame) is excellent as well, matching the series' shifting between melancholy, hope, tense danger, youthful innocence, and prideful can-do ambition. The English dub is passable at best, but definitely not up to what I'd hope for, or anywhere close to modern standards.

I really wanted to love this series, but it was just too uneven for me when I watched it. (And getting a defective DVD didn't help matters, since I had to watch one episode as it stuttered.) As a result, I never got around to the last DVD. From what I've heard and read, it ends somewhat abruptly, which didn't encourage me.

In terms of comparisons...its handling of the mecha genre leans toward the real robot-style of something like Gundam: The 08th MS Team or Patlabor or Argevollen, while its handling of its high school slice-of-life material is somewhere between stuff like Majestic Prince and Fafner in the Azure--earnest, emotional, but not without comedy and high jinks.

As a final thought, I must admit that despite its many shortcomings, I am left with the impression that there is a certain intangible charm to its characters and the relationships therein that somehow feels more organic than the way I've seen some other mecha shows do things. At least, that's how I felt when I saw it eight years ago. I think I'll try to finish it someday.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1574
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:12 pm Reply with quote
I actually saw Saiyuki Reload Blast this past January as the final part of a month-long series of pieces I did, the primary part being be watching only the manga-adapted episodes of Saiyuki (The Result? You can certainly do just that, and have almost no problems, whatsoever). Because of that, Blast did feel a little too much of "the same old thing" after 50 episodes of the series, but I did really enjoy what the Blast anime did adapt, which is apparently quite a fair bit; there's only one episode of straight-up filler, and it's honestly pretty good.

As for the "long wait", it really wasn't that long in Japan, to be fair, because there were the Reload Burial OVA (which remains my favorite piece of Saiyuki anime) & the Gaiden OVA, the latter of which is interesting because of how it relates to the Blast anime. There are three episodes in this most-recent series that adapts the same content as the Gaiden OVA, but it elaborates on the setup that the OVA glossed over, while the OVA elaborates on the "main attraction" of the past lives storyline that the TV series glosses over.
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 619
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:40 pm Reply with quote
LightningCount wrote:

I got around to seeing most of it on DVD about eight years ago. From the eight episodes I saw, it's rather charming but underwhelming on the whole....


Interesting, thanks for the detailed thoughts! this seems like a show i'd like to sample on Crunchyroll or something, but i'm trying to be more selective about the shows i buy.
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pirateaddict



Joined: 20 Dec 2017
Posts: 55
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:20 am Reply with quote
I'm a big Saiyuki fan and was so happy to get a new anime, I enjoyed the show and the introduction of Sharak Sanzo. As a huge lover of the first season from ADV I admit that I was so disappointed that Reload and Gunlock went to another studio. The voice actors in the first season did an absolutely fantastic job and you could tell they really enjoyed the characters. I didn't get that with the next two seasons so was glad that Gaiden reintroduced them once again.

Reload Blast wasn't a bad show and if you've followed the story you just want to see them get to their destination and see what happens but it's a long wait both for the manga and the anime. I'm glad to add this to my collection and look forward to more in the future.

As to the actors chosen to replace Illich and Braden, Micah Solusod did a really good job but in my opinion casting Ian Sinclair didn't work. He sounded too deep and not as happy go lucky as I would have liked him to be.
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Bergamot



Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:14 am Reply with quote
Thank you for reviewing Saiyuki Reload Blast!

Would even diehard fans want to wait for more material, you ask? Well, I am one of those long-term, diehard fans and the answer is a resounding yes. The mangaka has had extensive health issues over the years and so her progress with the story has been painfully slow, but anything she puts out has always be 100% worth the wait.

I was smiling all the way through the first episode of Blast, so happy to see the boys back on the screen.

The Japanese voice cast thankfully returned to reprise their roles as the four main characters. Over the years, throughout their work on the various anime seasons, OVAs, character songs, and multiple drama CDs, these guys just seem to become the characters, they do such an excellent job bringing them to life and it was wonderful to hear them again.

Quote:
The long and short of it is that Saiyuki is a Journey to the West riff set in a magitek world where our heroes are a bunch of scraggly hot guys traveling to India to stop the resurrection of a demon lord.


Descriptions like this are not wrong, but just can't do the series justice. These characters have so much depth, they are so much more than just four pretty faces. Their group dynamic is intricate and complex, and I feel that the basic backdrop of the road trip plot-line actually allows them the perfect setup in which to shine. If the story somehow seems repetitive to a casual viewer, or if it seems like the characters have not changed much over time, I just want to say that these guys have gone through so much, and major character development has been subtly but profoundly expressed.

Quote:
All things considered, the serious story and silly character-based antics are quite well balanced here.


Yes, the well-rounded balance between action/adventure, drama, and comedy is another one of the strengths of this series. This series can go from very light to very dark and nothing ever feels out of place.

I'm not the only Saiyuki fan who is very passionate about this series. And I'm sure the passion and patience of the fans has helped to fuel this series' long journey over the past twenty years. I hope that one day we will get to see them reach the end of the road.
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DangerMouse



Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 3507
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:19 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for the review, it's very cool this came back. I might pick it up during one of the Christmas sales. Though like the review said it is kinda weird that it finally came back to TV but only for a short 12 ep season with no sign of more coming yet so far that I've seen.

I've only watched bits and pieces of this franchise so far, but I know that's how I also felt for Blue Exorcist and D.Gray-man recently. We finally got surprise new seasons of them kind of out of nowhere (especially D.Gray-man lol) and then both have seemingly totally gone silent again.

I assume Blue Exorcist will come back again eventually for the next arc, but D.Gray-man coming back after so long for just such a short run before disappearing again felt so weird. Unless there wasn't enough manga done to do the next arc?
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